Libertarian Ramblings

Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Taxes aren’t the issue

Posted by gravisman on November 24, 2008

NBC on Obama-nomics

In the above link, NBC talks about Obama’s plans to revive the economy, and most of the article focuses on taxes. What taxes may or may not be increased or decreased and when. The reality that the American people need to realize is that traditional taxes are essentially a red herring when it comes to government economic management.

So, here’s the big secret, if you haven’t heard it yet: the government doesn’t need to collect taxes to finance its expenses! The reality is that the government can fund every expense it wants through inflation. That is, it prints money via the Fed. If the government needs money to pay for something, it has the power to create that money. This is already widely practiced today.

The problem is that every time the government creates new money, it makes every other dollar in existence worth a little less. It’s exactly as though someone started printing Mickey Mantle rookie cards. There worth a lot now, but as soon as everyone has them, they’re not worth much. 

Because of this we can essentially classify inflation as a tax. What makes it really bad is that inflation affects every single person without mercy, because it devalues all our money, rich and poor alike. Even Fed Chairman Bernanke agrees that inflation is a tax.

So, the bottom line is that traditional taxes are really not the issue, and they distract people from what is the real issue: spending. No matter what the government does with taxes, they will find a way to finance their expenses. Lowering taxes just makes people feel better. We keep them at a high enough rate that people believe the distraction that they really are what’s important. Unless the government wishes to sink further into debt and inflate the dollar even more, there’s only one response: cut spending.

UPDATE: So, I just came across page 142 of Ron Paul’s book, The Revolution, where he explains inflation by comparing it to Mickey Mantle baseball cards. I can assure you that I wrote this post before reading Ron Paul’s words, so hopefully nobody accuses me of plagiarism. In any case, all respect for Dr. Paul.

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Posted in Links, Politics, Rants, Videos | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why Obama doesn’t get it

Posted by gravisman on November 6, 2008

Change.gov – Civil Rights

The above page details the Obama administration’s attitudes toward, and plans for, dealing with civil rights. There are two fundamental problems in thinking that pop out at me when I read it. First, when talking about “the problem” they don’t really address civil rights. Second, when talking about “the plan” they quickly show that they think civil rights can be achieved by force, which is exactly the opposite of the right idea.

The page points out four current problems relating to civil rights.

1. Average pay inequity relating white men to women and racial minorities.

2. Hate crimes

3. Vote suppression against minorities

4. Criminal justice inequities

The first three are simply not civil rights. You don’t have the right to get paid any certain amount, and you certainly don’t have the right to get paid an amount simply because someone else does. Every person’s pay is determined on the employment market by factors of supply and demand as well as their personal ability to market themselves and negotiate. Anyone who accepts a job for a given wage has done so under his or her own free will. If he or she believes his or her self to be undervalued, the option is always there to seek alternate employment, or stake out an independent means of survival.

As for hate crimes, this is a fine line. Crime is a problem. From the perspective of pure civil rights, the motive of crime is irrelevant. To single out hate crimes as a civil rights issue is to miss the point of non-aggression. 

Vote suppression is sad and unfortunate, but it’s also a part of the political game. Yes, physical threats of intimidation are bad, but efforts to mislead or discourage voting (as long as they come from non-government entities) are not a violation of civil liberties. Just as much as you have the right to vote, I have the right to try to convince you not to vote. This is almost exactly the same scenario as is played out between a criminal suspect and police. Just as much as the suspect has the right to remain silent, the police have every right to attempt to convince him or her to talk. Giving up his or her rights is the responsibility of the individual.

The final problem noted is the only one that counts as a real civil rights issue, and the reason is because it deals with a direct relation between citizens and the government. What Obama seems to fail to realize is that the entire premise of civil rights is to protect people from government. Civil rights are not about protecting people from people. Yes, the government exists to protect people from being violent toward each other and stealing each other’s property, but it’s not meant to be an arbiter of every human transaction. Since judicial inequities and racial profiling is about government treating different people differently, this is something that must be stopped and people’s civil rights are on the line. The right in question is equal protection under the law, which every citizen should expect.

One out of four is not impressive. I call that luck.

Perhaps even more alarming than Obama’s obvious failure to recognize the very nature of civil rights is his completely wrong attitude toward protecting them. If we read down the page to see the plan for improving things, the theme quickly becomes clear: let’s pass more laws. Laws do not expand rights. Laws contract rights. That is their nature (there are, of course exceptions, but this is a fairly reliable generalization). The way to expand civil liberties to repeal laws and policies that restrict them. It is insanity to go around setting more rules and expect that people will be more free with all the rules you’ve placed on them.

Some people just don’t get it….

Let us not forget what real change is.

UPDATE: The link supplied above is now broken, and the page that has replaced it has been largely overhauled. You can read the new page here.

Posted in Links, philosophy, Politics, Rants | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Election 2008 – No Three Ways About It

Posted by gravisman on June 8, 2008

Today the 2008 presidential campaign became effectively a two person race. While I am greatly relieved that neither of them is named Clinton, I still feel a great sadness in the number two. It is the very fact that we are forced into this position of choosing between two candidates for each election (in very rare circumstances, there are three candidates with enough power to hope to win) that undermines our our entire political system.

If we were given a choice between living in New York City or Mobile, Alabama, I think a great number of us would be completely unrepresented by those choices and happy with neither. Few us would accept choosing the color of our house between black and white, would live with choosing to be a slave or slave master, or would fail to complain if our transportation choices were only walk or fly; how is it that we accept only Republican or Democrat?

Many of us will claim that this is just the way the system works and it is not our fault, and to some degree that is true. The system is setup to destroy all options but two. The root of the problem lies in Congressional elections, rather than Presidential. All members of Congress get their jobs through elections where the people can only choose one person to put in office. Taking into account that we have many election districts, this leaves us in the following state: if there are two parties each of which is supported by approximately 40% of the people, and there is a third party which is supported by 20% of the people, the third party will be left completely unrepresented. This is because the two powerful parties will battle it out in each district, and each will end up winning about half of the districts. The third party, though supported by about 20% of the total votes (no small number!) will get zero representatives, because they don’t have enough to win any one district. Unable to fill any congressional seats, this third party is left with no legs under it to even attempt a real presidential bid. The futility of its existence will ultimately erode its support base and it is through these forces that the election system makes it virtually impossible for any parties except for the two most powerful to exist.

Despite this fatally flawed system, it is important that we remember not to be funneled into only one of two directions of thought. The media and cultural forces around us have made everything seem like Obama, Clinton, or McCain, and in the future they will be sure to make everything seem like Obama or McCain, but there are most certainly other ways of thinking.

Obama is a charismatic leader with promises to shake up Washington. He also promises one of the disastrous possibilities for American politics: universal health care. As much as I cringe at the terrible thought of the US as a police state both inside and out with its homeland security and foreign relations policies, I am comforted by the fact that these things can be undone in the future. The scary thing about universal health care is that an entitlement program of that nature will never go away once implemented. Forever will we as taxpayers be committed to spending our money on inefficiencies inherent in huge government-run programs and will be forced by men with guns to pay for other people’s drugs. If you don’t believe me about the “men with guns” try not paying your taxes.

McCain, while maybe not as much of a long term threat as our friend Obama, is nevertheless a man who seems determined to continue on the road of foreign policy that has so much angered our world neighbors in the past as to bring mass hate and terror to our soil. Worse than that, his campaign has openly acknowledged that he would continue (and likely expand, as that is the nature of the executive) domestic surveillance programs. To that I simply say, while many remark that if you are innocent you have nothing to hide, I say that if I am free, you have no reason to watch me.

I wish there were a solution I could give to make things better today. There is not. Those who embrace freedom, or even embrace free thought, not tethered to one of two ideas, should work to over time educate and enhance support for an improved electoral system. In the mean time, I think Mr. Ron Paul has tapped on a growing group of Americans who believe that this is, and should be, the land of the free. I believe that group will continue to grow over the next decade or two. I believe that if we continue to remember we can think whatever we want to think that there will come a time when our numbers and our power can force a change even in a system as flawed as this one.

Posted in Elections | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »